Conversations with Rian

Conversations with Rian

Every time someone asks me Rian’s age, I am constantly surprised at how quickly the number is increasing. He is now 22 months. That is 2 months shy of 2 years old. I can’t even begin to wrap my head about that! Where did the time go? Rian is very active, curious, energetic, funny, perceptive, and to top it all off, he has a killer smile (he gets away with so much because of his smile). In the past few months, his vocabulary has been growing by the day. He speaks and understands English and Gujarati as well as certain words and phrases in Spanish and sign language. I speak Rian’s language the best and can decipher it 99% of the time. Here are a few of his recent conversations:

Nani (my mom): Rian, eat up or the Police will come!

Rian: No… (with the face above)

Nani: Eat please Rian.

Rian: Nani, Police! Police!

Nani: Do you want me to call them?

Rian: Yes!

It really stresses Rian out when Arin randomly begins to cry in the car.

Rian: Baby, no cry! (with the face above)

Arin: Crying

Rian: Baby, stop it!

Arin: Crying

Rian: Baby, gummy-gummy (Rian’s word for milk). Mommy, baby dudhu (milk in Gujarati).

Me: Rian, does baby want milk? Is that why he is crying?

Rian: Mommy gummy. Baby no cry!

A_R

For meal times, Rian loves to sit and stare out of the dining room window and comment on the traffic or the on-goings in our development.

Rian, when he sees the garbage cans placed outside all of the driveways: Cuppa-kay (Rian’s word for garbage can)! More cuppa-can (Can/kay are interchangeable)! Cuppa-kay truck come!

Me: Do you want the garbage truck to come?

Rian: Gah-bage truck coooooooome! Cooooome!

Rian, when the garbage truck first pull into our development: YAAAAY! Cuppa-kay truck! (He always celebrates with great delight.)

Me: Rian, do you want to go in the garbage truck?

Rian: Yes! Inside!

Me: Where do you put the garbage that is outside?

Rian: Cuppa-kay truck, inside. Rian, inside! Rian do it!

Rian, as the truck comes closer to our house: Come! More cuppa-can, come!

Me: Rian, can you please say thank you to them?

Rian: signs the gesture for thank you.

Rian as they leave our development: Bye cuppa-kay truck! Cuppa-kay buh-byeeee!

Me: Bye truck, love you!

Rian: Luh-you!

"Rian inside cuppa-can!" he exclaimed as he slid in.

“Rian inside cuppa-can!” he exclaimed as he slid in.

The garbage truck is invaluable when Rian is being fussy about his breakfast. Thank you cuppa-kay!

Oh Rian, how we love you my little chatter-box!

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Valentine’s Day Gift Bags

Valentine’s Day Gift Bags

I have never been a big fan of Valentine’s Day. You should express and celebrate love every day or at least more often than just once a year. But, I do love the gifting aspect of this day. It’s one of the few holidays where you can explore your witty, fun side and cheesy gestures and presents are treasured. For Rian’s daycare teachers, as a token of our appreciation, I am making sweet treat bags filled with a monogrammed mug, fruit spread, peanut butter cups, and chocolate covered almonds. While most everything is edible (from Trader Joe’s), I did want to include something that they could keep as a memory and use regularly – the mug. I hope they enjoy them as much as I liked compiling them!

vday gift top

vday gift bags

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Back to Work

Back to Work

It has been three weeks since I went back to work. 12 weeks of maternity leave flew by! To say that maternity leave in this country is not nearly adequate would be a huge understatement. (Like most moms, I can write a book about this injustice.) Going back to work after Rian was an easier transition, especially since my mother-in-law was living with us and caring for him while we were gone. Now, with two kids under two, the game has changed completely. It’s always a divide and conquer mentality with little rest and recovery time in between. Also, it is just never easy leaving a piece of you behind to focus your energies on something else. It almost makes me feel like I’m cheating on my kids with work. There was a point during my maternity leave where I didn’t think that I would go back to work at all until Arin turned one and started daycare. But, I soon realized that having a balance was key with my personality. Mostly, it is just nice to be able to feel productive, have adult conversations and be out and about.

Thankfully I was able to come back to work on a part-time, three days a week basis. Week one was heartbreaking but every week gets a bit easier. It’s also a huge relief to know that Arin is in the great hands of my parents when I am at work – it certainly takes a village. The guilt of leaving him (that sinking feeling in the pit of stomach) may never fully go away but it will really make me cherish the days that I am home with him.

Most importantly, happy belated 2016! I hope you had a wonderful holiday break. Ours was pretty low key. We always spend Christmas and New Year’s with my sisters-in-law. For New Year’s, we stayed in, played board games with the kids and ate and drank in our pajamas. Rian probably had the best time out of everyone, chasing after his cousins and being the center of attention. The holidays always remind me just how lucky I am to have married into a close knit, big family. Though it certainly gets chaotic at times, the love and care is purely unconditional. Celebrating Arin’s first Christmas with everyone was the icing on the cake for me. He was my favorite present this year!

Rian thoroughly enjoying wasabi potato chips - he loves flavor!

Rian thoroughly enjoying wasabi potato chips – he loves bold flavors!

My sisters-in-law

My sisters-in-law

sister love

Sisterly love

Rian and his younger cousins

Rian and his younger cousins

All of the kids, ranging in age from 3 months to 29 years

All of the kids, ranging in age from 3 months to 29 years

My sister-in-law was dog-sitting for a couple of weeks. She is now a full-time dog mom. Welcome to the family, Leo!

My sister-in-law was dog-sitting for a couple of weeks. She is now a full-time dog mom. Welcome to the family, Leo!

kids

Rian loves “baby”

IMG_1110 (2)

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Homemade Treats

Can you believe that holiday season is right around the corner (Thanksgiving is just 2 weeks away – eek!)? My favorite part about this time of year, aside from the abundance of scrumptious foods, is seeing friends and family. The holiday spirit usually brings out the best in people, making it that much more fun to maintain and create new traditions. Whether we are hosting or visiting loved ones, I really enjoy giving cheerful homemade mementos as a token of our love and appreciation. These are a few of the recipes that have caught my eye recently. Just wrap up any of these in a box/tin/jar/bag, add a sweet note, and you have a present that anyone would enjoy.

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1 Month with Arin

1 Month with Arin

Yesterday marked Arin’s one month birthday! It feels like we have known him for much longer than that. Having two under the age of two is no cakewalk, oh the struggle is very real. But the lack of sleep and time all seem like a tiny price to pay when I catch Arin smiling or see the bond that is already developing between the brothers. Rian is very affectionate towards Arin, always wanting to hold his bottle or give him a tight hug or a juicy kiss. He knows all of Arin’s belongings and is always fetching them for us. Rian has regressed in his sleeping schedule since Arin’s arrival, awaking at least once each night. I think he sees the attention that Arin receives when he first awakes and wants the same for himself. But, I know things will get a bit easier as the boys grow and we fall into a more predictable routine. More

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On Re-gifting

On Re-gifting

I pride myself on being a thoughtful gift giver. Picking the right present for someone is an art. I factor in the occasion, the person’s personality and taste and keep a loose budget in mind. Dare I say that I may like shopping for others more than shopping for myself at times? Bold statement, I know, but it may very well be true. I also love receiving a good gift (who doesn’t?). Even if it is something that I will use rarely, I always appreciate the thought behind the present. This is the main reason that I don’t have the heart to re-gift or return. I’ll only ever do either if I really have no use for the present or if I have something identical. Recently, we have been receiving many gifts (clothes, blankets, toys) for Arin. My favorite thing to do, as a thank you, is to take a picture of Arin using the present and send it to the gifter. After all, gifts are meant to be used and loved.

Do you believe in re-gifting or returning presents? (Be honest now!)

Thank you Miss Maria (Rian’s daycare teacher) for Arin’s outfit!

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Dressed in Black & Blue

Dressed in Black & Blue

In the immediate weeks after giving birth to Rian, my default dress code included leggings, joggers, yoga gear, sweatshirts, and loose, tunic-like tops. My love for assembling an ensemble was over-ridden by the adjustments of early motherhood. With Arin, I now know that having a routine, a very flexible one, is a crucial factor in maintaining my happiness. With Rian, my days solely revolved around him and it took a real toll on my mental and physical health. Now, I make a conscious effort to have my meals on time, get dressed every morning, read my favorite blogs, keep up with the news, and carve out some alone time with Maithil. At times, the only alone time we have is the two to three minutes it takes me to drive him to the train and then pick him up in the evening. It also gets me out of the house and gives me a reason to pull myself together. Seeing that “you look pretty” look in his eyes or even receiving a complement is quite the motivator these days. More

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Iris

Iris

With two kids, having any personal time is a rare luxury. Feeding Arin (breastfeeding or pumping) is my time. With Rian, I was slow to catch on to this notion. But, once I went back to work, I would pump and answer work emails simultaneously. Then, I started watching shows and movies during that time. Now, I use feeding time to read, create grocery lists, shop, plan, and of course, watch and listen to anything interesting. Most recently, I watched a documentary about the life of the 93-year-old witty, free-spirited fashion icon, Iris Apfel. Made by Albert Maysles, the film really captures her beliefs, showcases her unique eye for detail and brings in a real human element by having commentary from her husband. I still recall the first time I saw an image of her – I was an intern at Coach and came across a photograph of her by our creative studio. Something about her eyes made me curious to learn more. I have followed her work since then and my respect for her has only grown over the years. There is a lot one can learn from her and namely, one quote has really stuck with me. Iris says is best with, “I feel lucky to be working. If you’re lucky enough to do something you love, everything else follows.”

Image via Vogue Italia, 2007 by Bruce Weber

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Meet Arin

Meet Arin

It’s been ten days since we welcomed our second son, Arin (pronounced aa-rin) Desai Patel, into this world. Arin was born on October 16, 2015 at 5:45pm, weighing almost 7 pounds and measuring almost 21 inches. The entire Arin experience, everything from the pregnancy to labor and delivery to recovery to ten days into being his mom has been different than the Rian experience. During the pregnancy, I had more cravings, heartburn and hip pain. Both labor and delivery were quicker and calmer this time around because I knew what to expect and my nerves did not get the best of me. Once I got to the hospital, my only emotions were joy and excitement. Doubt and nervousness never consumed me. Maithil stayed with me during my hospital stay post-Rian. However, this time, even though we had the help of my parents with Rian, I convinced Maithil to spend the nights at home. He would come and visit during the day but at night, it was just me and Arin and a very friendly staff of nurses. This way, we all got some semblance of rest and Rian never felt like both of his parents had vanished. I was now also fully aware of the post-delivery aches and pains as well as the woes of breastfeeding, and the lack of surprises kept me in a positive and mellow mood. Last time, I was actually scared to leave the hospital and go home because of my lack of confidence in handling a life so tiny. Not this time. Newborn diapers, swaddles, sponge/bath time, I was prepared and looking forward to it all. I also really missed Rian and Maithil and was ready to be home with my boys. Finally, I definitely suffered through a period of postpartum depression last time. I still have my moments of feeling down (hello hormones) but overall, I am keeping to my goal of taking active steps to keep myself smiling.

Arin_the boys

Thus far, Arin has a calmer disposition than Rian did at this age. When he’s not eating, sleeping or dirtying his diaper, he just hangs out without a fuss. He’ll just look around and focus his attention to the source of light or noise in the room. There is something just very laid-back and chill about him. One of the coolest things we have noticed is that he focuses on Rian’s voice anytime he is around. Something tells me that they already have a brotherly bond between them. Rian loves saying “baby” and “Aya” and is always eager to hug and touch Arin. I can’t wait to see their bond develop over the years.

Welcome to the family Arin, we are so thrilled that you chose us!

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Shades of Gray

Shades of Gray

After nearly a year of living within white walls, our house finally has some color. It is my first real effort in making this house feel like a home with character and personality. Decorating with kids is tricky but I am putting a stake in the ground – having young kids should not keep us from enjoying our home and Rian and the baby will have to have more defined boundaries within the house. More

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